Art, Eloquenceand Silence:
All Campuses Observe September 11
An alma mater that lost students and alumni,
and relatives of faculty, staff and students last September 11,
CUNY marked the tragedys first anniversary with memorials,
conferences, an art installation, music, candlelight vigils and
moments of silence.
As a University community, we share
a deep sense of grief and sorrow over the loss of loved ones and
all those who perished. As New Yorkers and Americans, we join with
the citizenry in seeking to cope with the profound distress attributable
to the impact of terrorism, said Chancellor Matthew Goldstein.
|A choreogrpahic evocation of
9/11 being performed on the Bronx Community College campus.
Responding to a request from Governor Pataki, the Central Office
and every University campus marked the solemn occasion. At Borough
of Manhattan Community College, the CUNY campus most devastatingly
affected by the terrorist attacks, a solemn afternoon ceremony included
the unveiling of a commemorative plaque and the singing of God
Bless America. Baruch Colleges Mishkin Gallery, at 125
East 22nd Street, opened In Memory: The Art of Afterward,
an exhibition of work by artists from 16 countries. The installation
offers a cross-cultural study of the themes of global violence,
genocide, and the aftermath of trauma in a 9/11 context.
Bronx Community Colleges commemoration on its campus quadrangle
included poetry readings, music and meditation. A special art exhibit
featuring contributions from students, faculty and staff was also
displayed. During Brooklyn Colleges rites, participants were
asked to bring flowers for the campuss Wall of Remembrance.
A weeklong series of activities at the College of Staten Island
was high-lighted by the dedication of a Meditation Garden and a
candlelight vigil. City College convened a "Call to Remember"
at 9:15 a.m. in Lewisohn Plaza to the sound of bells ringing and
verse read by the poet Cornelius Eady.
The Graduate Center presented a two-day conference, Death,
Bereavement and Mourning: What We Have Learned a Year After 9/11.
Notable was the eminent psychiatrist Robert Jay Lifton, speaking
on Death and Human Continuity: 9/11 and Beyond. (Continuing
its work is the Graduate Schools permanent Digital Archive
of first-hand accounts of the attacks and the aftermath.) Hostos
Community Colleges observation featured a moment of remembrance
and of healing, readings, messages, and reflections by the campus
community on September 10 in the Colleges Atrium.
A highlight of the plenary gathering at Hunter
College was a reading by English Professor Jenefer Shute from her
contribution to 110 Stories: New York Writes After September
11, a new book just published by NYU Press (all proceeds designated
for 9/11 survivors). The audience also heard words from columnist
Pete Hamill. September 11 became A Day For Reflection
at John Jay College, and special events included an original play
based on dozens of oral histories that was mounted by John Jay students,
faculty, and staff.
|Some of the several hundred
who attended a mid-day memorial on the Humanities Quad at
Queensborough Community College..
On the eve before, a candle-light gathering took place on the Kingsborough
Community College waterfront, with student leaders holding flags
representing the countries which lost citizens. Day-long observances
on the 11th included a serenity room and the display in the Art
Gallery of a scroll of poetic reflections. The rubric for LaGuardia
Community Colleges ceremonies was A Changed World: A
Global Community Reflects and included a tree dedication moderated
by a student who was a rescue volunteer at Ground Zero.
The Lehman College community unveiled a permanent plaque in front
of a memorial tree, amid inspirational poems and song, while the
campus Art Gallery offered Missing an installation by
Barbara Siegal. It was inspired by the posters placed by hopeful
relatives near her apartment, which was just eight blocks from the
Twin Towers. I was always struck and deeply moved by the combination
of ineffable sadness and irrepressible optimism which they represented,
"A Time for Reflection" unfolded at Medgar Evers College
to the sounds of the Imani singers.
Queens College held a memorial service and candlelight service on
its Quad, and on Alumni Day (Oct. 5) a memorial plaque will be dedicated.
At its ceremony, Queensborough Community College presented certificates
of honor to more than 30 College faculty, students and staff who
contributed to the 9/11 recovery efforts, and honored local policemen
Just before September 11, another important CUNY salute to those
it has lost came a step closer to reality. Five finalists were chosen
from a field of fifty proposals to compete for the grand $10,000
prize in the 9/11 Memorial Competition for the best
website design reflecting on the terrorist attacks and the aftermath.
A panel of distinguished judges will announce the winner in December.
At a moving gathering in the Kibbee Conference Room at the CUNY
Central Office, just before the observation of a moment of silence,
Chancellor Goldstein said, "As I reflect on the University,
I search for ways for it to participate in ways that universities
do best. We don't fully understand this event, in part because our
thinking is very much clouded by the depth of our emotions, which
are still very raw."
The Chancellor then observed, "But this is what universities
do: they are places of open exchange of ideas. They are places for
people with knowledge, with experience, people who can set an event
like this in a historical context and shed light on the incomprehensible.
This University and others stood tall and sought not only to give
comfort but also to help people understand and participate in a
developing sense of clarity about what happened."